APG leaders honor women, WWII civilians at wreath-laying ceremony
March 9, 2011
- APG leadership lays wreath at Edgewood honoring WWII civilians and women.
- March is National Women's History Month.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Leadership from Aberdeen Proving Ground led a wreath-laying ceremony at the Edgewood area today to honor the local civilians who died during World War II and to recognize women's contributions as part of National Women's History Month.
The wreath was laid at a monument completed at the Edgewood area in 1946 honoring civilians who died during World War II. The inscription on the monument reads, "In honored memory of those civilian employees of Edgewood Arsenal who made the supreme sacrifice for their country."
"This monument recognizes that 37 civilians perished in World War II in service to their nation, all associated with Edgewood and Aberdeen Proving Ground. Twenty of them were killed in action and 17 died right here on Edgewood. Of that 17 that were killed here, at least 13 of them were women and 12 were killed in one day," Col. Orlando Ortiz, APG Garrison commander, said at the ceremony.
On May 25, 1945, an igniter for a firebomb prematurely exploded at a building at Edgewood injuring 57 men and women and killing 12, all of whom were women.
"The month of March is National Women's History Month. So, I think it's important to recognize that civilians perished in service of our nation and women factored prominently. Women right here at Aberdeen Proving Ground. So, I think it's fitting that we pay honor and tribute to their sacrifice. Coming together and presenting a wreath to recognize their contribution as part of a comprehensive team is significant," Ortiz said.
"It's appropriate that we are here today at a place where Rosie the Riveter really began during World War II," Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, commanding general of APG, said. "When men were going off to war, we needed to fill traditional jobs. The resource we had was women."
Justice recognized that during the times of uncertainty, Americans stepped up to meet the challenge.
"So, in times of crisis, that is also the times of greatest opportunity. We are going to pause this morning to reflect on the opportunities that rose from the crisis of World War II as we kick off this day of celebration," Justice concluded.